Posted: Monday, December 19, 2022. 3:11 pm CST.
By Aaron Humes: Chairman of the United Democratic Party (UDP) Michael Peyrefitte maintains that the party’s process as it relates to John Saldivar was proper and without bias.
After the Special Committee created by the party decided that Saldivar would not be allowed to run as a candidate in the forthcoming convention, Saldivar exercised his right under the party’s constitution to appeal to the National Party Council, the second-highest ranked decision-making body in the party after the National Convention. The gamble paid off as he obtained a narrow majority of Saturday’s final vote (the Chairman declined to give the final numbers, but wide reports say it went 42 to 40 for Saldivar with multiple abstentions and absences).
Addressing the press today, Peyrefitte said that as messy as it all was, that’s democracy, at least in the UDP: “We’re a democratic party and the leader (Moses “Shyne” Barrow) took a position, he’s entitled to a position, he’s entitled to his opinion, but like he made very clear to the NPC afterward, he took a position but the decision of the NPC is the decision of the NPC and nobody is bigger than the NPC…we don’t see that as weakening anything at all; as a matter of fact we see it as a strengthening of our processes and the way we do things. And democracy is messy at times – it’s not the neatest of things at all. But the NPC had its say and now the people of Belmopan will have their say – we can’t imagine a better outcome than that.”
Peyrefitte added that Saldivar promised to respect the decision of the Council either way and that no one “won or lost” on Saturday. With Khalid Belisle’s withdrawal announced on Friday, the remaining candidates are George Lovell and Emil Torres.
The process is established in the party’s constitution (Peyrefitte cited the Nominations Committee as an example) and the NPC runs the day-to-day affairs of the party and is called on to interpret the party constitution on occasion). He compared it to appealing from the Magistrate’s Court to the Supreme Court and so on.
Later, Peyrefitte said the party would not treat the February 5 convention any differently than the other contested conventions that are scheduled countrywide.
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